Social media blamed for increase in youth suicide

By Doug Mattushek - 09 October 2019Views : 826

Suicide is the second leading and fastest growing cause of death in South Africans aged 15-25.

This is according to the SA Depression and Anxiety group (Sadag), who added that 9% of teenage deaths are suicide.

"While some people have a genetic tendency towards depression, others develop it as a result of loneliness and social isolation, bullying, loss, abuse and conflict," Sadag operations director Cassey Chambers told IOL.

"And there's a catalyst that this generation is often having to contend with - social media.

"We're only now starting to see the effects of the technology age impacting our children. Cyberbullying is a leading cause of anxiety and access to technology results in young children being far more conscious of the world around them."

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A Sadag study showed how increased participation in social media directly correlates with increased psychological stress, with the effects often twice a severe amongst young women.

Founder of MySociaLife, a social media and online safety educator, Dean McCoubrey, added that parents need to prepare their children for a life online.

"So many kids are so 'social', and yet so many are also feeling alone - it's the great paradox of social media," said McCoubrey.

"We'll look back on this time in a decade or two and ask why we didn't prepare our children more carefully for life online."